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Canucks Post Game: Tan Man can, Green sees gold, Markstrom the saviour, bouquets for Boucher – The Province

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Antoine Roussel reacts after scoring opening goal Thursday.

Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA TODAY Sports

Points to ponder as the Canucks not only talked the talk, they walked to walk to open a 3-1 lead before squandering a 4-3 edge. Chris Tanev won it in overtime as the Canucks collected a confidence-building 5-4 decision Thursday over the red-hot Golden Knights at Rogers Arena:

YES, THE TAN MAN CAN:“I didn’t think it (pass) was going to get to me and ended up on my stick and I went around Fleury’ 

Hands up. Who had Chris Tanev in the overtime-goal pool? Nobody? Thought so.

Tanev does so much for the Canucks on a nightly basis — he led the club with three blocked shots Thursday and is third in the NHL with 83 blocks — and the fact he found a way to beat Marc-Andre Fleury for the overtime winner for his second goal of the season was beyond poetic justice.

His effort was better than his celebration and judging by the post-game reaction in the room, the decisive goal couldn’t have gone to a better guy.

I’m super happy for Taney,” said Jacob Markstrom, whose late-game blocker save off Paul Stastny could have been the headline. “He’s been playing good and he’s a guy who never complains and always does more than expected.”

“That was pretty,” added Tanner Pearson. “I’m not so sure about his celebration, but the goal was pretty.”

As for the winner, Tanev seemed somewhat surprised that the pass actually got to him and he somehow got it by Fleury.

“I just passed it to Bo (Horvat) and went to the net and he made a really great pass,” started Tanev. “I didn’t think it was going to get to me and ended up on my stick and I went around Fleury and it ended up going in.

“We’ve been struggling lately and it’s been tough to find wins and it’s big. Hopefully, we can get on a roll. They took it to us badly in Las Vegas (6-3 loss Sunday) and it’s huge to get a win against a team that you know is going to be there at the end of the season.”

GREEN SEES GOLD:This was a little bit of a hurdle against that team. They’ve had their way with us. We stood tall’

This how the Canucks coach started his post-game press conference:

“Good effort. We had a lot of guys play well and a hell of a win against a really good team. I didn’t feel like we were under siege at all and I loved the way we started the game.

“You get up on a team like that by a couple of goals and you know they’re still going to get their chances. But it wasn’t like we were going to sit back and defend. We had the lull in the second period and I liked how we got our composure back.”

He could have gone on an on because after three-straight losses and four in the last five games, a hockey-mad market was mad. Who was to blame? The players, the coach, the general manager.

But on a night where Elias Pettersson not only scored two goals but looked more than comfortable in a big boys’ game — he also rang another shot off the crossbar — there was a lot to take from the game. The Canucks didn’t get run out of their building when the Golden Knights cranked up the hitting and poking and prodding and jabbing.

You want a taste of what it could be like if the Canucks make the postseason? Well, you got it Thursday. Green even called a time-out after the Golden Knights rallied for two quick second-period goals to make it 3-3.

“It was a chance for our team to take a breath and the confidence level of our team is probably not as high as it has been,” admitted Green. “I maybe sensed we were fragile for a few seconds after they tied it. It happened fast. I just wanted us to re-focus and it (win) takes a little pressure off them.

“It also justifies that this was a little bit of a hurdle for us against that team. They’ve had their way with us. And when they crank it up physically, it can go one of two ways — either you crumble and back off or stand tall — and I thought we stood tall. Down the road when we start playing playoff games, it’s going to be heavy like that.”

MARKSTROM’S GAME-SAVER:You want to have an impact. You want to help and that was my time to step up’

The Canucks weren’t going to totally deny a club on an 8-2-1 roll heading into Thursday’s clash. They knew it. Jacob Markstrom knew it.

He kept his poise early in the game when the Golden Knights pressed for the equalizer by staying square and calm. He denied Chandler Stephenson on a short-handed opportunity before Pearson struck to make it 2-1 on the power play. There was that backhander chance in tight in tight by Mark Stone.

Markstrom had little chance on the goals that beat him and gave the Canucks a chance to win — especially when he robbed Stastny with a blocker save on a power play late in regulation and had 38 saves before overtime.

“The puck kind of came out back side and it was more of a desperation save and I just tried to get over to the post as quick as possible,” said Markstrom. “That was a timely save. You want to have an impact. You want to help the guys and that was my time to step up.

“We just needed a win and I didn’t care how it looked. They don’t dump a lot of pucks in. They cycle and lot and they’re all about possession — a little bit of European-style hockey. You see the Russian and Swedes do that stuff and they don’t like to give away the pucks when they have it.”

KILLING THEM SOFTLY:‘If you’re slipping, you kind of let them dictate the PP instead of you dictating the PK’

There’s no glamour in penalty killing.

Do it right and nobody really notices because it doesn’t show in individual statistics — unless you’re taking the draws — and doing it wrong often puts you in the highlight reel for the wrong reason.

Jay Beagle has made a career of being a force in the face-off circle, being good in shutdown match-ups and a pain to play against on the power play. And when the penalty kill goes from top-10 status to 16th and just 24h at home, it’s going to raise eyebrows.

To his credit, Beagle knows how to keep it light in the room and even in warm-ups and owns it when it’s a mea culpa.

The Montreal Canadiens scored on their two power-play chances Tuesday to turn a 1-1 struggle into a 3-1 cushion. The Vegas Golden Knights scored on two of their four chances Sunday in a 6-3 triumph and they went 0-for-1 on Thursday because the Canucks were disciplined in a game that featured 53 hits.

Penalty kill success isn’t rocket science. It’s predicated on push and structure and health.

At one point this season, prime kill guys Beagle, Brandon Sutter and Tyler Motte were all sidelined by ailments, It pressed Bo Horvat, Tanner Pearson and Loui Eriksson into those roles with mixed results. Beagle is at his best with Tim Schaller, who was re-inserted into the lineup Thursday in place of the injured Sutter.

So, what’s missing?

“It’s that urgency and compete,” said Beagle. “Even that game (Tuesday), the guy (Tomas Tatar) slips in behind me and I wasn’t urgent enough on my part. They get the 2-1 goal (PP) and the next one (PP) and we lose because we didn’t get the job done on the PK.

“Familiarity is huge. It makes the job that much easier because you know exactly what he (PK partner) is going to do before he does it. But when guys get hurt, there are switch-ups and changes and you have to still learn to get the job done — no matter what.

“There lots of talk. I like killing with Motte, too, because he’s very smart and has a great stick. It’s just a matter now of knowing his tendencies and making sure that we’re talking a lot and reading off each other. And sometimes, that takes a little bit of time to come, too.”

Beagle is usually a beast in defensive-zone draws. He’s seventh overall with a 57.9 per cent success rate and has won 58 of 101 PK assignments, even though he has to take draws on his weak side because the PK gets to dictate O-zone face-offs.

“They’re so key because if you’re slipping, you kind of let them dictate the PP instead of you dictating the PK,” added Beagle. “Even if we don’t clear, they’re fighting to get the puck back.”

BOUCHER’S RECORD BLAST:I’ve seen him make some crazy plays and win games. He can score in a lot of ways’

Reid Boucher isn’t the faster skater, but he has a quick grip on NHL reality.

The Utica Comets winger set a franchise record for career goals Wednesday with his 76th in 125 AHL games during a 4-3 win at Belleville. He passed Darren Archibald, who managed 75 in 304 games.

Boucher not only has 20 goals in his first 24 outings this season — the left-winger leads the league in that category and his 34 points are tied for the best output — but his ability to understand the roster rationale and recall pecking order with the parent club, while leading by example in the minors is a major accomplishment.

“I take everything in practices seriously when it comes to shooting the puck and trying to score in practice and that’s been part of my success for the last couple of years,” said Boucher. “I don’t think it’s a matter of staying positive, it’s controlling what I can control. I can’t control being called up or sent down, but I can control how hard I work.”

His roster fate was cemented on Day 1 of training camp at Victoria. The arrival of wingers J.T. Miller and Micheal Ferland through offseason acquisitions only added to a glut of forwards. A leaner and driven Boucher was there to push the pace and push those who had been pencilled into a particular place. 

He did just that.

And being on his fourth-consecutive one-year contract — this one pays US$750,000 at the NHL level and $450,000 in the AHL — is as much about handling his attitude as his game.

“He’s a good pro,” said Green. “He’s a big part of their team and a good leader, too, and that’s one thing that goes unnoticed.  And when you talk about dragging them into the fight, he’s a guy with who it’s not just about goals with him — every day he plays hard and will fight once in a while.

“I have a lot of respect for what he’s done down there.”

It’s the shot that sets Boucher apart.

A quick, hard and accurate release allowed the 26-year-old Lansing, Mich. native to score 20 goals in 133 career NHL games with New Jersey, Nashville and Vancouver.

He uses an STX composite stick that has a 75 flex rate, which players have called a “noodle.” Brock Boeser made his mark as a rookie with a 90 flex because he has the strength and skill to get a lot on his shot and pick corners. What’s the deal with Boucher’s low-flex stick?

“It lets me shoot the same with less effort,” he said. “Shoot hard without loading the stick as much and it comes off (the blade) quicker.”

Jalen Chatfield is in his third season with the Comets and has witnessed Boucher’s impact. The recalled derenceman lauded Boucher’s caring, work ethic and leadership.

“He was really great for me my first year down there,” said the 23-year-old Chatfield. “He a big part every night and when he’s out, you can see it in our power play. He’s one of the best — if not the best — scorers in the AHL.

“I’ve seen him make some crazy plays and win games for us. He can score in a lot of ways. If teams let him slip away, he moves around and reacts with that shot — he’s always a threat.”

bkuzma@postmedia.com
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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 1: Score, updates, news, stats and highlights – NBA CA

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9h ago


Playoffs 2020

The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets squared off in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

After the Nuggets completed their second consecutive 3-1 comeback, taking down the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers, they were riding a ton of momentum heading into this first contest. The Lakers, who have gentlemen’s swept each of their first two opponents, were yet to win a Game 1.

The Lakers made certain this one was in the books early, registering a dominant win.

Anthony Davis finished with 37 points and 10 rebounds, while Lebron James added 15 points and 12 assists.

If you missed the live action we have you covered with live updates, highlights, stats and more from this contest.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets – Score, updates, news, stats and highlights

Final – Nuggets 114, Lakers 126

-That’s it, the clock runs out and the Lakers complete a dominant win over the Nuggets in game 1 to take a 1-0 series lead for the first time in the 2020 playoffs!

-With the Lakers leading by 20+ points the benches have cleared with three minutes to play. This one is in the books for the Lakers.

-Anthony Davis is up to 37 points as the Lakers look to close out game 1. Los Angeles lead Denver 115-93 with 6:41 to play.

-Rajon Rondo has moved into the top-10 for all-time playoff assists!

-Michael Porter Jr. finishes in transition and the Nuggets are on an 8-0 run to cut the score to 109-92. Lakers immediately call time to slow down the momentum. Porter Jr. has 11 points and five rebounds.

End of the third – Nuggets 79, Lakers 103

-It’s all Lakers to finish the thrid with Davis dominating the final minutes. He leads the Lakers with 33 points and 10 rebounds.

-Back-to-back dunks for Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers lead is extended to a game-high 19 points!

-Murray is starting to cook for the Nuggets. He has 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting but Denver still can’t stop the Lakers inside and they lead 78-67 with 6:41 left in the third.

-Jokic now picks up his fourth foul off the ball fewer than 60 seconds into the quarter. Disasterous start for the Nuggets.

-We are underway in the third quarter!

-The Lakers have attempted 32 free-throws in the first half. They are physcially overwhelming the Nuggets inside and Denver will have to find a way to defend without fouling if they are to edge back into this game in the second half.

Halftime – Nuggets 59, Lakers 70

-Murray, Jokic and Millsap all have three fouls and sat out critical minutes during the second period.

-Lakers outscore the Nuggets 34-21 in the second quarter to take a double-digit lead into the half. It’s the fifth straight game Denver have trailed at halftime.

-Monte Morris with the finish at the rim but it’s the Lakers with a 65-53 lead with 1:57 until the half. LeBron and AD have combined to pour in 28 points for the Lakers.

-LeBron is now up to ten points in the second quarter and the Lakers lead is up to 15 with six minutes to go in the half!

-Huge moment in the game with Jokic picking up his third foul with 7:22 left in the half. The Lakers are on a 16-1 run to start the period and it’s danger time for the Nuggets.

-Dwight Howard checks in to the game for the Lakers as they continue to go big to try and slow down Jokic. Lakers hold a 45-39 edge with 9:24 left in the half.

-LeBron James steps on the foot of Jerami Grant driving to the basket and takes some time to get up. He is carrying a slight limp but heads to the free-throw line to take two.

End of the first – Nuggets 38, Lakers 36

-Jamal Murray gives the Nuggets the lead at the BUZZER! Huge shot from Murray ends a scoring frenzy in the first quarter…the repective defences haven’t had much of an answer thus far.

-In four games against the Lakers during the regular season Nikola Jokic averaged just 11 shot attempts per game. He’s got up nine in his first ten minute stretch of game one and has 11 points.

-Anthony Davis leads the Lakers with eight points while Jokic has six for Denver.

-Four quick points for the Lakers and Michael Malone calls time with his team trailing 21-17 with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

-It’s been all inside early for both teams, with all eight of the Nuggets points coming in the paint while the Lakers have scored 10 of their 13 in that zone.

-The Lakers take an early 13-8 edge as Jamal Murray will have two free-throws out of the timeout.

Pregame

-The Lakers move JaVale McGee back into the starting lineup for game 1.

-The Nuggets starting five is in!

-Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis are set to duel in a pivotal matchup throughout they series. The All-Star duo are out on the floor getting loose before tip!

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Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray remembers his Kitchener roots before semi-final game – CBC.ca

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Denver Nuggets star point guard Jamal Murray reminisced about his hometown of Kitchener during a media scrum Thursday night.

He goes up against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA’s western conference final Friday at 9 p.m., but Murray says he still remembers time spent playing in and around the Stanley Park Community Centre. 

“I was out playing at the court every day, not knowing that I would be in the western conference finals at 23 years old,” he said. 

Murray noted that being from Canada has often lead people to doubt his ability and it feels good to do well on the court and prove those people wrong. 

He also had a message for any kids in Kitchener who had dreams of making it the the NBA like he did.

“I was a kid just like you guys,” he said. “Orangeville helped a lot.”

Murray initially went to high school at Grand River Collegiate Institute before transferring to Orangeville Prep, a basketball program that now attracts top tier talent from Canada and around the world.

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray gestures after hitting a 3-point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Denver. The Cavaliers won 111-103. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

Larry Blunt served as the head coach of Orangeville Prep when Murray attended. He is now assistant coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. 

“Guys like Jamal are the reason why I’m where I am,” he said. “Jamal was going to be special wherever he went.”

He said Murray had a drive and love for the game that made him stand out.

“If you wanted him to stop working on his game you would have to cut the lights off at the gym, and then he would still shoot in the dark … and then if you took the balls away he would be in a pitch black gym, with the rims raised, and he would be in running sprints and working on his conditioning,” Blunt said.

“He is just relentless.”

When asked about life inside the NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Murray explained life was fairly simple.

“I’ll have practice and I’ll get some food. Then I’ll go back to my room, I’ll sleep, and then I’ll have a game, then I’ll sleep, then I’ll eat,” he said. 

Watch some of Murray’s press conference:

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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Reed takes lead in difficult conditions at U.S. Open

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MAMARONECK, N.Y. — This was the Winged Foot everyone has heard about. This is the U.S. Open everyone expected.

Patrick Reed answered the first big test Friday when the wind arrived out of the north, bringing a little chill and a lot of trouble. He never got flustered by bogeys and made enough birdie putts and key saves for an even-par 70.

It felt just as rewarding as the 66 he shot in the opening round, and it gave him a one-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau, who powered and putted his way to a 68.

The opening round featured soft greens, a few accessible pins and 21 rounds under par. Friday was the epitome of a major long known as the toughest test in golf.

Three players broke par. Nine others shot even par. Everyone else was hanging on for dear life. As the final groups tried to beat darkness in this September U.S. Open, only six players remained in red numbers.

“It’s almost like they set it up to ease our way into it, and then showed us what it’s supposed to really be like,” Reed said.

Television showed his five birdies. What took him to the 36-hole lead at 4-under 136 was a collection of pars from bunkers and from thick grass just over the greens. He managed them all with grit, a common trait among U.S. Open champions.

DeChambeau showed plenty of resiliency, too, bouncing back with birdies after all five of his bogeys and finishing the best round of the day with a pitching wedge on the downwind, 557-yard, par-5 ninth to 6 feet for eagle.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain and Harris English each had a 70 and were at 2-under 138.

They were joined by Justin Thomas, who opened with a 65 — the lowest ever at Winged Foot for a U.S. Open — and lost all those shots to par after 10 holes. Thomas then delivered a 5-wood from 228 yards into the wind on the par-3 third hole and made a slick, 15-foot, double-breaking birdie putt to steady himself. He scratched out a 73 and is right in it.

Jason Kokrak (71) was the only other player under par at 1-under 139.

“This isn’t exactly a place where you go out and try to shoot 6 or 7 under to catch up,” Thomas said. “I’m not going to worry about what everyone else is doing because you could shoot 80 just as easily as you could shoot 68. I just need to stay focused, and most importantly, go home and get some rest. Because I’m pretty tired.”

There’s still 36 holes to go, and no indication that Winged Foot is going to get any easier.

“The rough is still really thick. I don’t think they’re planning on cutting it,” Matthew Wolff said after salvaging a 74 that left him four shots behind. “The greens are only going to get firmer, and the scores are only going to get higher.”

Tiger Woods is among those who won’t be around to experience it. He had a pair of double bogeys at the end of the back nine, and two birdies over his last three holes gave him a 77. He missed the cut by four shots, the eighth time in his last 15 majors he won’t be around for the weekend.

“It feels like the way the golf course is changing, is turning, that anybody who makes the cut has the opportunity to win this championship,” Woods said. “I didn’t get myself that opportunity.”

Neither did Phil Mickelson, who had his highest 36-hole score in 29 appearances in the one major he hasn’t won. Ditto for Jordan Spieth, whose 81 was his highest score in a major. PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole that cost him a chance to keep playing.

Reed turned in a workman-like performance, making birdies when he had the chance, saving par when needed. This is the kind of golf he loves. It’s a grind. And it’s about feel. He was most pleased with his birdie on No. 1 after he made the turn, going with a chip 8-iron from 147 yards into the wind and riding the slope at the back of the green to tap-in range.

“I love when it’s hard, when you have to be creative on all different golf shots,” he said.

There were plenty of great rounds on such a demanding course, many of which fell apart at the end. Louis Oosthuizen was 3 under in the morning when he finished bogey-bogey-double bogey for a 74. Xander Schauffele was 3 under until he bogeyed three of his last five holes.

“The wind can make a par-3 course difficult, so put that on a U.S. Open setup, it’s going to be even more so,” Schauffele said. “It’ll be a fun afternoon to watch on TV.”

Rory McIlroy’s problems started early. He was 5 over through seven holes, including a birdie at the start, and shot 76 to fall seven shots behind. Dustin Johnson was bogey-free through 16 holes until a pair of bad tee shots led to bogey. He had a 76 and was in the group at 3-over 143.

All of them still feel as though the U.S. Open is in sight.

“I’m confident now, after seeing what was out there this afternoon, over par will win this tournament,” Adam Scott said a 74 left him nine shots back. “The greens finally dried out. If there’s any breeze, over par is winning.”

It usually does at Winged Foot.

Source: – pgatour.com

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